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An ostomy is a surgical procedure performed when normal bowel or bladder function is lost due to birth defects, disease, treatment for disease, or injury. Conditions that may require an ostomy include colorectal cancer, traumatic injury to the

bowel or bladder, diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and removal of the bladder. Cancer necessitates nearly 80% of ostomy procedures. Ostomy procedures are performed in a hospital and patients are admitted for several days or longer, depending on the severity of the condition and complications that occur.

An ostomy may be temporary or permanent. Temporary ostomies are created when the digestive tract must be allowed to heal without irritation caused by the passage of stool. The surgery allows the body’s wastes (e.g., stool, urine) to be expelled through an opening created in the abdomen. Types of ostomy procedures include colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy. The type performed depends on the location and extent of the disease or injury. A person who has had ostomy surgery is an ostomate.

The word "ostomy" is derived from Greek and means a surgically created opening connecting an internal organ to the surface of the body. Different kinds of ostomies are named for the organ involved. The most common types of ostomies in intestinal surgery are an "ileostomy" (connecting the small intestine to the skin) and a "colostomy" (connecting the large intestine to the skin).
An ostomy may be temporary or permanent. A temporary ostomy may be required if the intestinal tract can't be properly prepared for surgery because of blockage by disease or scar tissue. A temporary ostomy may also be created to allow a disease process or operative site to heal without irritation by the passage of stool. Temporary ostomies can usually be reversed with minimal or no loss of intestinal function.

A permanent ostomy may be required when disease, or its treatment, impairs normal intestinal function, or when the muscles that control the rectum do not work properly or require removal. The most common causes of these conditions are low rectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. When part of the urinary tract isn't functioning, a urostomy may be required to divert the flow of urine. Cancer and irreversible bladder dysfunction are the most frequent reasons people have urostomy surgery. Birth defects, interstitial cystitis, neurogenic bladder, trauma or radiation effects also can create the need for a urostomy.

More information on ostomy

Ostomy - An ostomy is a surgical procedure performed when normal bowel or bladder function is lost due to birth defects, disease, treatment for disease, or injury.
Colostomy - Colostomies are identified by the portion of the colon that's brought out through the stoma. For example, a sigmoid colostomy involves the sigmoid colon.
Ileostomy - An ileostomy is an artificial opening that is created in the bowel for stool to pass through. The ileum is the lower of the small bowel, which connects to the large bowel.
Urostomy - Urostomy, also called urinary diversion, is performed to divert urine from a diseased or damaged section of the urinary tract.
Enterostomy - An enterostomy is an operation in which the surgeon makes a passage into the patient's small intestine through the abdomen with an opening to allow for drainage or to insert a tube for feeding. 
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005